Pancakes are fantastic. When you wake up and smell them first thing in the morning, it’s hard to shoot out of bed any faster. But still, by the end of your stack that’s three or four flapjacks high, aren’t you kind of sick of them? Have you seen that episode of Review?
That’s sort of how we’ve come to feel about Bandcamping (but with less disdain than Forrest MacNeil). We love combing through obscure music and picking out what we think is the best of it for your (and our) benefit, but we’re starting to think that maybe doing this every week isn’t the most effective way to go about it. Our selections are already pretty exclusive, considering we listen to hundreds and hundreds of albums for each installment and emerge with only five, but still, we fear that our constant stream of music recommendations may be having a white noise effect.
So, this edition of Bandcamping will be the last weekly installment, but the column will continue in a monthly capacity from here on out. This means that on the last Friday of every month, you can expect an even more carefully considered selection of underground music that’s fit for your consumption… like perhaps just one or two pancakes, and you’ll still have room for eggs and bacon and hash browns and other key parts of a balanced breakfast!
That said, we’re ending our weekly publishing schedule with a banger of a lineup, which includes, among other things, one of the most intriguing voices we’ve heard all year, in this column or otherwise.
5. Creatures by Old bean
Genre: indie rock, pop-punk
If you like: Cage The Elephant, Cloud Nothings
This Irish group knows adrenaline, and they’ve brought it here, as well as a functional 90s pop-punk influence that’s effective but doesn’t overpower. It’s high-energy in a modern way, but still has some of the recklessness for which ’90s pop-punk as so loved.
4. Rooftops by THE IRON KEYS
Genre: pop-punk, indie rock, punk rock
If you like: Blink-182, Against Me!
All kinds of modern bands try to recapture the uplifting and fun energy of ’90s pop-punk, but so few can pull it off without coming off as desperate and just late to the party. The German group THE IRON KEYS strikes a strong balance, and as one might expect, incorporate a classic German punk influence.
3. The Man That Never Lived by David Moon
Genre: synth pop, indie pop
If you like: Hot Chip, Walk The Moon, 80s electropop
This German synth pop artist does nothing to distance himself from the artificial sounds of cheesy ’80s music, but it works in a modern context despite how unabashedly throwback it is. If Chromeo formed a full-on partnership with Com Truise, Moon is a close approximation of the result: It’s poppy in a vintage way, and it’s also nostalgically electronic.
2. Ugly Robot by Ugly Robot
Genre: alternative, indie, comedy
If you like: Randy Newman, Ben Folds, Father John Misty
Music isn’t goofy anymore, or if it is, it loses all ability to be somewhat serious, but Ugly Robot has struck an entertaining balance. The music is engaging, and the vocals are unrestrained and silly, but it also works in a way that 70s singer-songwriters used to achieve. It’s truly carefree, and sometimes it goes a bit off the rails, but there’s almost always at least one charming and redeeming quality that holds this chaotic and all-over-the-place album together.
1. June by Pat Hull
Genre: singer-songwriter, folk, alternative country
If you like: Brett Dennen, Kacey Musgraves, Wayne Newton
Pat Hull has a voice that’s rare in today’s musical landscape, with a high-pitched androgyny that hearkens back to the days of classic pop stars like Wayne Newton for Frankie Valli, but he applies it so a warmer singer-songwriter sound in a way that’s absolutely captivating and frankly, unseen in contemporary music, or at least isn’t done this well. Hull should be dominating NPR and beyond, and since this album is a precursor to the 2017 LP Marrow, here’s to hoping this unrecognized talent gets his.
York St by leMeow
Genre: soul, indie
If you like: Cat Power, She & Him
That’s all for today, but until next month, let us know in the comments which of these albums were your favorites, what we missed, and what we should look forward to. If you missed out on last week’s post, check it out here (and the complete Bandcamping archives are here).